“As incompetent as they are disingenuous”

Victor Davis Hanson on the MSM’s frenzied and incompetent coverage of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. The media got the most important facts of the story wrong. Its death count estimate of 10,000 seems likely to be off by a large multiple. And, as Hanson notes, “we were assured that stagnant water would submerge the city for months, even as our screens showed dry, lighted streets, torrents pumped back out and pools evaporating under scorching heat.” In fact, the MSM was so busy pointing its finger at President Bush that it largely missed the magnitude and accomplishments of the federal relief effort. Nor did it competently play the blame game, failing to ask the basic question of how this relief effort measured up against past ones.
Here’s Hanson verdict:

For all the media’s efforts to turn the natural disaster of New Orleans into a racist nightmare, a death knell for one or the other political parties or an indictment of American culture at large, it was none of that at all. What we did endure instead were slick but poorly educated journalists, worried not about truth but about pre-empting their rivals with an ever-more-hysterical story, all in a fuzzy context of political correctness about race, the environment and the war.
Let ghoulish CNN file suit against the government to film all the bloated corpses it can find. Let a pontificating PBS “News-Hour” conduct more televised roundtables with grim-faced elites searching out purported national racism. But few any longer trust a frenzied media whose reporters and commentators continually prove as incompetent as they are disingenuous.
Was it too much to ask reporters to look to history to judge this recovery against other past disasters here and abroad? Could they have strived for accuracy instead of ratings


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